Hello and welcome to the page for the Liberal Democrat Candidates for Bickley - Helen Corbett, David Martin and Dave Wilkinson.
We're looking forward to the next few months of campaigning and want to hear from as many local residents as possible on how you think we can improve Bromley. We'll be out knocking doors and would love to hear your feedback; you can fill out our online residents' survey here and we're also currently gathering residents' views on the current Bickley Councillors' proposed changes to roads around Nightingale Lane.
Bullers Wood School for Boys
We're very aware that the future of Bullers Wood School for Boys has been the main topic of conversation over the last months. As a party we've supported the parents' campaign to get the school built at St Hugh's playing fields, we've joined the marches, asked questions at Council, and published the campaign in our newsletters and on social media pages. But we're very conscious that it is a campaign that has been led by the parents and won by the parents, and we applaud the tenacious, imaginative and brave campaign that they fought and won. We're anxious not to use the school as a political issue in any way because there has been support for the school from various people across the political spectrum. However, now that unconditional offers have been made to the year 7 boys starting in September 2018 we feel it is important to be absolutely clear about our position on the school.
Given the circumstances we fully support the decision to open Bullers Wood School for Boys in temporary accommodation this September. We recognise that 1 Westmoreland Road is not a good site for a school and so it must be a temporary solution for a maximum of 2 years only (hopefully 1). If elected we will work with and support the school and all stakeholders, including local residents near the temporary site to ensure that the temporary site works well for everyone, and in particular ensure that safe routes to and from school for the boys are planned and consulted on. Every effort must now be made to secure planning permission for the permanent home of Bullers Wood School for Boys at St Hugh's as swiftly as possible and ideally in time for the school to move to St Hugh's before the start of the 2019/20 academic year.
In respect of the permanent site at St Hugh’s, all of the Lib Dem candidates felt that the failure to ratify the DCC’s October decision to grant approval was the wrong thing to do for many reasons; it was wrong procedurally, it was factually wrong – judging by the incorrect statements by several panel members, and it was contrary to the council’s own planning advice. We will urge that the DCC reconvenes as soon as possible after 3 May and be asked to ratify the 4th October decision to grant approval or failing that, if elected we would ensure that the school receives the fullest possible cooperation from the Council’s own planning officers throughout the application’s process, that members of the DCC are kept informed throughout so that any concerns can be addressed early on and do everything within our power to ensure that the build starts promptly and the permanent site at St Hugh's is ready for occupation as quickly as possible.
Apart from Bullers ...
This campaign has rightly dominated our conversations and highlighted just how out of touch with many families in Bickley the current Bickley Councillors are. We will commit ourselves to creating a Bickley that works for all of its residents believing in the power of communities such as Bullers and that the role of our elected representatives is to enable those communities not frustrate them. We want to make the council more transparent and open - more open meetings at accessible times, recorded and broadcast so everyone can see democracy working. Bromley Council must embrace the demographic change it is experiencing not deny that it is happening; that means more affordable housing and new developments that fit in with the local community, that come with school places, doctors' surgeries, travel and parking spaces; extra resources for the NHS services in our area where the Council can make a difference with care packages to help people stay independent for longer and support for health clinics and specialist charities in the mental health sector; road safety - the borough has changed and there needs to be a change in the attitude to all road users, not just the car - our Safer to School | Safer for All campaign is already bringing changes to the Borough.
Who Are We?
Dave Wilkinson grew up in the borough and has lived in the local area with his partner and son for the past six years. He currently works in London in financial services.
Dave only became a member of the Lib Dems about a year ago but has always voted for the party throughout his adult life. He wants to be a councillor for Bickley because he believes that Bromley council is currently failing in some of its core duties and responsibilities to residents. As seen with the farcical way it has dealt with the pressing need to increase school places, and the worrying trend Bromley council seem to be following of massively increasing the number of homes in some areas without ensuring the local infrastructure is able to cope with the extra demands that will be put on it.
He feels that he has the necessary skills to be a strong councillor, standing up for the interests of local residents. Like all the candidates he has been a constant voice in favour of building BWSFB on St Hughs and has been regularly seen on the marches with his family and neighbours.
David Martin has been an active campaigner with the Liberal Democrats for several years and was a full-time elected officer of his students' union while at university. Although having only recently moved to Bromley, David has been committed to improving the local community and is disappointed with the lack of forward-planning and the services currently provided by Bromley council. He has been full supporter and advocate of campaigns to provide desperately needed new school places. As a member of the Young Liberals, David is also passionate about policies that will make London and Bromley more affordable and liveable for young people. David currently works full-time in the public transport sector and believes there is a lot more to be done to connect Bromley with the rest of London through extending Tramlink and the London Underground.
Helen Corbett is a self-employed entrepreneur with a degree in Development Economics from SOAS. She runs her successful photography business alongside her fiancé, Matthew, from their home in Bromley. Helen became involved in the Bromley Liberal Democrats and their work with the local community when she joined the party during the referendum campaign. Helen’s commitment to improving Bromley has seen her actively campaign on behalf of Bromley residents on a range of issues as well as successfully managing the increasing online presence of the Bromley Liberal Democrats.
Helen has shown everyone that she has the skills, commitment and fresh approach to succeed as a councillor and has already identified priority areas for local improvement. She believes Bromley is a fantastic place to live and thinks that with thorough and careful management of affordable housing and a long term plan for infrastructure the borough can continue to thrive and be a fantastic place to live.